Do the Denver Broncos have a clear shot at AFC West title?

Denver Broncos, Russell Wilson (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos, Russell Wilson (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /

After three games, Denver is tied for the division lead in the AFC West. Given what has happened so far, do they have a clear shot at the title?  Yes, it’s early, and I can already see the people coming for me in the comments.  However, I think the Broncos have a clearer picture of the AFC West title than at least two of their division opponents.

After three interesting weeks, Denver sits at 2-1 in the division, tied for the Chiefs with their record.  The Los Angeles Chargers sit at 1-2, and the Las Vegas Raiders are 0-3.  To me, I think unless something drastic changes, the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs will be the two teams vying for the AFC West crown.

Denver Broncos wins keeping them in the AFC West race early on

Even though the last-place team is only two games out of first place, and even though the Chargers are just a game back, I think they are both clearly a tier below Denver and Kansas City.  Let’s start with the Raiders, and what their 0-3 record says about their chances.

There have been just six 0-3 teams since 1980 who have made the playoffs out of 176 teams that have started 0-3 since that time, according to this post on

So, a 3% chance to make the playoffs, and of those six teams, two have won the division.  Given the Raiders’ circumstances including their coaching and quarterback play, I think it’s clear that it’s virtually impossible for them to make the postseason, let alone win the division title.

Furthermore, only 2.5% of 0-3 teams have made the playoffs since 1990.

The Chargers are 1-2, but just got beaten badly by the Jacksonville Jaguars.  They just lost Jalen Guyton and Rashawn Slater for the season, and Joey Bosa is set to miss a good amount of time.

Justin Herbert wasn’t 100% going into the game with his own ribs injury, and Los Angeles still has a slew of other players who aren’t healthy either.  The team also didn’t have Corey Linsley, Keenan Allen, or JC Jackson on Sunday either.  

The “Chargers Curse” that some have given the team seems to be legitimate.  Brandon Staley is just 10-10 as head coach of the Chargers, and many have noticed a dropoff in his playcalling and decision-making.  Some have noticed that he’s gotten way more conservative, which is a massive difference from last year, when he continually went for it on fourth down, for example.

Their offensive coordinator, Joe Lombardi, also seemed to be souring on the fanbase.  Both the Raiders and Chargers have massive issues, and the Denver Broncos just came off a win against perhaps the best defense in football, and maybe the best offensive play-caller in football.

The Broncos have an issue on offense, but guys like Aaron Rodgers struggled for a bit when this offense was implemented, and Peyton Manning’s tenure in Denver did not get off to a great start.  The Kansas City Chiefs also had an ugly loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, which made the Broncos the only victorious team in the division.

There are still 14 games to go, but I think Denver has a clear shot at the division title.